Author Topic: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture  (Read 31737 times)

Offline gbaikie

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #40 on: 05/25/2016 03:11 AM »

Suppose one picks what is regarded as best site out of 98. How many holes will you drill and how deep do you drill before deciding that water isn't available at the site one thought was the best one.
And many of the 98 do need to check, before deciding there isn't any minable water be found by using whatever methodology you thought was best.

« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 03:42 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline Warren Platts

Quote from: Warren
What is extreme about stable water ice at 30 K?

The point of my post was, that we currently can't tell what exactly is there with high certainty, and we definitely cannot tell how easily accessible or usable any of the materials are. Further data needed.

Yes of course. We've been through that all that before. But for the sake of the argument, let's assume that the polar craters really are 2 meter thick ice rinks. I think we'd both agree that would be about the most "easily accessible" frozen resource we could hope for. Thus, the point of this thread is that even if that were the case (which I agree is unlikely), it would still be easier to drill for volatiles if they can be found at shallow depths.

Think about it this way: I have a pond in front of my house. In winter, it is easier for me to simply turn on the faucet connected to the water well than it is for me to go out and cut and melt blocks of ice every time I need some water.

We know there are these geological features we call meniscus hollows or IMPs or whatever. We don't know for sure what caused them, but we do know for sure that they were formed very recently, on the order of 1-10 million years ago, maybe even sooner. And although there is a faction of researchers who cling to the old idea that these are lava flows, the most likely theory IMO is Schultz's outgassing hypothesis. But to excavate surface deposits via outgassing or a water explosion, that logically entails that such volatiles must have got to the surface somehow.

Thus, if (1) outgassing caused Ina and its ilk; and (2) it happened very recently, then (3) there very well could be near surface locations where significant quantities of volatiles could be obtained today.

However, there is a big theoretical knowledge gap that's been preventing taking seriously the above logical argument. Although outgassing is the most popular explanation, there has been next to no theoretical work done on exactly how that could be accomplished. Really, it's a petroleum geology problem with water and other volatiles substituting for oil and natural gas; but most lunar geologists have probably never set foot on an oil rig in their lives.

Also, it is a prediction of my model that significant quantities of H2 gas would be recovered from any successful wells.

We look for potential drilling sites by looking for geological signs of outgassing. I just gave you a list of 98 locations. We conduct volatile exploration on the Moon the same way we conduct oil exploration on the Earth--IOW, we don't go around randomly punching holes the way you make it sound.

Ok, but that sounds to me to be quite expensive.

Trivial. Everything in space is "quite expensive". The google X-prize is offering $30M to land a frackin beach ball on the Moon, and it can't be done for less than the prize. It's all relative, but, just like it is less expensive to produce oil from the Ghawar supergiant oil field than it is to produce it from Alberta tar sands, it would be less expensive to produce water and volatiles on the Moon by drilling for it rather than mining it.

Quote from: gbaike
Suppose one picks what is regarded as best site out of 98. How many holes will you drill and how deep do you drill before deciding that water isn't available at the site one thought was the best one.

You do it just like they do it in the industry. You go until you either run out of money or you strike it rich....

Quote
minable water

I can see how it could be possible to find the difference between mining and drilling to be confusing. Here is a link that explains the difference: http://bfy.tw/5wJs
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #42 on: 05/25/2016 01:00 PM »
But for the sake of the argument, let's assume that the polar craters really are 2 meter thick ice rinks. I think we'd both agree that would be about the most "easily accessible" frozen resource we could hope for.
Not necessarily. Other forms of hydrogen concentration might be possibly better
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #43 on: 05/25/2016 01:18 PM »
There are not vast quantities of easily accessible oxygen and fuel (hydrogen or methane) on the Moon...
Did I miss something? There is new data or interpretation of existing data that would have conclusively disproven the more extreme hypothesis of exposed water ice in PSRs?
Both you and Warren may not be understanding this matter clearly. Water is not oxygen and hydrogen, it must be electrolyzed first. Which I clarified in the NEXT SENTENCE that you clipped out. On Earth, oxygen and fuel is already chemically available without electrolysis.

edit/Lar: Soften
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 01:51 PM by Lar »
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #44 on: 05/25/2016 01:21 PM »
::)

Quote from: gbaike
It possible that there is water 100 meter below the surface of the Moon- somewhere at the surface, but this seems like a more difficult thing to explore in order to find.

Dude, that's what this whole thread is about. We look for potential drilling sites by looking for geological signs of outgassing. I just gave you a list of 98 locations. We conduct volatile exploration on the Moon the same way we conduct oil exploration on the Earth--IOW, we don't go around randomly punching holes the way you make it sound.

Quote from: Robotbeat
There are not vast quantities of easily accessible oxygen and fuel (hydrogen or methane) on the Moon. I'm talking stuff that isn't in trace quantities and stuff that doesn't require electrolysis (or similar) to acquire.

This is pure disinformation. Sad.

Quote from: savuporo
the more extreme hypothesis of exposed water ice in PSRs?

And what is extreme about water ice being stable at 30 K?!?

edit/Lar: soften a bit.
Do not accuse me of "disinformation" because you lack reading comprehension!

Water must be electrolyzed.
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Online Lar

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #45 on: 05/25/2016 01:53 PM »
I've tried just passively softening words but that's not working.

Accusing people of not having reading comprehension is not exactly a good example of being excellent to each other.  Play the ball not the man.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #46 on: 05/25/2016 02:21 PM »
There are not vast quantities of easily accessible oxygen and fuel (hydrogen or methane) on the Moon...
Did I miss something? There is new data or interpretation of existing data that would have conclusively disproven the more extreme hypothesis of exposed water ice in PSRs?
Both you and Warren may not be understanding this matter clearly. Water is not oxygen and hydrogen, it must be electrolyzed first. Which I clarified in the NEXT SENTENCE that you clipped out. On Earth, oxygen and fuel is already chemically available without electrolysis.

edit/Lar: Soften

And again, because you missed the point, two important aspects that have been made over and over :

- First, we have no information what the chemical and mineral composition of the hypothesized resources are. In mining terms, it is speculative, undiscovered  portion of resources and by far not characterized reserves. The data we have fits various weaker and stronger hypotheses and is totally insufficient to turn this into even inferred or demonstrated reserves - any time soon.
Much more information is needed before we can make absolute claims like "There are not vast quantities of easily accessible oxygen and fuel (hydrogen or methane) on the Moon.". For all we know, there can be free hydrogen in PSRs. Whether its 'easily accessible' or not is all relative. Subjectively, nothing in space is 'easy'

- The exact chemical bonds of utilizing these theorized resources are just one input variable into total process engineering complexity. Given that we are talking about completely new process engineering disciplines, it might or might not end up significant variable.

Quote
oxygen and fuel is already chemically available without electrolysis.
There is no 'fuel' naturally available on earth ( or probably anywhere, where oxidizer is present nearby ) - even dry firewood has to be gathered and broken up. How easy that is depends on where you are at and a few other factors.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #47 on: 05/25/2016 03:31 PM »
There are not vast quantities of easily accessible oxygen and fuel (hydrogen or methane) on the Moon...
Did I miss something? There is new data or interpretation of existing data that would have conclusively disproven the more extreme hypothesis of exposed water ice in PSRs?
Both you and Warren may not be understanding this matter clearly. Water is not oxygen and hydrogen, it must be electrolyzed first. Which I clarified in the NEXT SENTENCE that you clipped out. On Earth, oxygen and fuel is already chemically available without electrolysis.

edit/Lar: Soften

And again, because you missed the point, two important aspects that have been made over and over
I didn't miss the point, I was making a simple one which you didn't understand, partly because you truncated what I wrote. Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer. I was taking all this into account when I wrote the above, you two just (selectively) misread what I actually wrote. You clipped it out of your quoted text and Warren just seems to have skipped reading what I wrote entirely.

Quote
Quote
oxygen and fuel is already chemically available without electrolysis.
There is no 'fuel' naturally available on earth ( or probably anywhere, where oxidizer is present nearby ) - even dry firewood has to be gathered and broken up. How easy that is depends on where you are at and a few other factors.
Yes, there is. That's why there are forest fires, coal seam fires, etc. There's free fuel available on Earth as well as free oxidizer. You stick a hole in the ground, and methane comes out. The energy required for fracking or sticking that hole in the ground is a good order of magnitude less than electrolysis.

Chop firewood takes kilojoules of energy to release megajoules. Electrolysis takes megajoules to release megajoules.

The argument for lunar resources being better is based on energy (or similarly, delta-v). I.e. you need more energy and propellant to launch from Earth than from the Moon. But if you actually look at the AVAILABILITY of the propellant, Earth is still far better. And that's why I brought up electrolysis. Even if the lunar resources were as easily available as is claimed, i.e. totally pure water (it's not, by the way... and I will eat my words if proven wrong, so hold me accountable when we land a vehicle near these ostensible water resources), you STILL have to input a whole lot of energy into them to get them into usable propellant.

The difference of availability of the actual propellant is almost ALWAYS ignored in these discussions. The energy required to extract and process propellant on the Moon is orders of magnitude higher than on Earth, which negates the gravitational potential energy difference (except for corner cases, like refueling a lunar lander). (Not to mention differences in cost.)
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 03:42 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #48 on: 05/25/2016 05:03 PM »
Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?

Quote
The difference of availability of the actual propellant is almost ALWAYS ignored in these discussions. The energy required to extract and process propellant on the Moon..
You seem to be equating chemical bond energy requirements with difficulty of turning completely hypothetical resources ( not characterized reserves, huge difference ) into usable materials, which is at the root of my disagreement.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #49 on: 05/25/2016 05:07 PM »
Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?
...
Middle school chemistry. Water won't magically turn into hydrogen and oxygen, it requires electrolysis, an input of energy. Minimum of 16MJ/kg, more like 30MJ/kg to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #50 on: 05/25/2016 05:11 PM »
...

Quote
The difference of availability of the actual propellant is almost ALWAYS ignored in these discussions. The energy required to extract and process propellant on the Moon..
You seem to be equating chemical bond energy requirements with difficulty of turning completely hypothetical resources ( not characterized reserves, huge difference ) into usable materials, which is at the root of my disagreement.
Yeah, electrolysis is simply the MINIMUM energy requirements to turn these supposed vast amounts of water into useful propellant. It is not a maximum. On Earth, the fuel is already chemically present in an oxidizable form. And on Earth, the oxidizer is already free in the atmosphere (and takes only a small amount of energy to concentrate).

Since we cannot easily quantify the actual difficulty of operating on the Moon, we have to at least look at the minimum difficulty.


...and I focus on propellants, because if we perfect reusable launch systems (which is also required for lunar propellant, by the way! No way to economically extract lunar resources using an expendable ascent vehicle/lander), the cost of the propellant becomes an important factor.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 05:13 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Kansan52

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #51 on: 05/25/2016 05:21 PM »
But the water does not need to be processed on the Moon with mag lev launch rail. Send the ice to a processing location/fuel depot.

Offline muomega0

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #52 on: 05/25/2016 06:30 PM »
....... Electrolysis takes megajoules to release megajoules.

  Even if the lunar resources were as easily available as is claimed, i.e. totally pure water (it's not, by the way... and I will eat my words if proven wrong, so hold me accountable when we land a vehicle near these ostensible water resources), you STILL have to input a whole lot of energy into them to get them into usable propellant.
Any links to other threads appreciated...   XEUS    Marsdirect  Cislunar1000

Updates/corrections welcome...

Electrolysis
100mT of propellant.   Assume you need a  5.7:1 ratio, so 15mT of hydrogen.  (H20 is 11% H by mass)
2.4 gal/kgH, so 35,821 gals of H20   40* kWhr/kg or 597000 kwhr of energy required at 100% efficiency.
12 hrs a day * 360 days is 4320 hrs (the ~lifetime of the lightest weight PEM fuel cell  )
At 75% efficiency and 4320 hrs,    its 184 kW

Liquid Hydrogen
451 KJ/kg heat of vaporization   x 15mT   or 6731343 kJ   over 4320 hrs is 1558 KJ/hr  or 432 Watts thermal.
Assume 100We/Wt   for the cooler, so that's another 40kW.

Liquid Oxygen....Power for Caterpillars....
214 KJ/kg                                 x 85mT     .......     1.2 MW   + coolers at 20W/W   =   122 kW

yikes!~

So now the weight of the power, mining equipment (plus power!), coolers, and heat rejection, needs to be determined, including lifetimes and maintenance and the costs tp develop and to send the equipment to the surface, including tanks, and back to orbit...not to mention boiloff.   Then scale this for Mars for a 1 year stay, so if its 400mT/yr, so pick both hydrogen or oxygen or one...

OTOH, way more interesting than capsules and expendable LVs :D

Why not mine the resources from asteroids, insitu, and avoid the gravity wells, and place the propellant near Mars, where its need for the crew return trip home to shorten the trip time?

But the water does not need to be processed on the Moon with mag lev launch rail. Send the ice to a processing location/fuel depot.
Asteroids avoid gravity wells...while the 3 depots (LEO, L2, Mars) are filled from earth, robots and crew can be explorin' for water and 'gold'.

Offline savuporo

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #53 on: 05/25/2016 06:55 PM »
Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?
...
Middle school chemistry. Water won't magically turn into hydrogen and oxygen, it requires electrolysis, an input of energy. Minimum of 16MJ/kg, more like 30MJ/kg to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Not answering the question. What do you base your assertions of composition of volatiles in lunar polar regions on ? Specifically, mineralogical, elemental, molecular and isotopic make up of volatiles ?

Since we cannot easily quantify the actual difficulty of operating on the Moon, we have to at least look at the minimum difficulty.
You cant, without knowing whats there.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 07:07 PM by savuporo »
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Online Lar

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #54 on: 05/25/2016 07:03 PM »
Agree with the energy balance comments...  in general making propellant from raw materials (especially when those raw materials are the combustion reaction product, suchas water for Hydrolox and water/CO2 for methalox) means putting in as much energy as you get back out, plus some more to make up for losses

The difference is just that you are putting the energy in slowly (via electricity or electrical power to run heaters for endothermic reactions or whatever) and getting it out faster.

On the other hand if you are extracting methane from the ground you're not making it. So the energy you pay is less than it contains (or else why do it). If you are extracting O2 from the air, you're not making it (by dissassociating water or whatever) either.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 07:06 PM by Lar »
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #55 on: 05/25/2016 07:33 PM »
Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?
...
Middle school chemistry. Water won't magically turn into hydrogen and oxygen, it requires electrolysis, an input of energy. Minimum of 16MJ/kg, more like 30MJ/kg to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Not answering the question. What do you base your assertions of composition of volatiles in lunar polar regions on ? Specifically, mineralogical, elemental, molecular and isotopic make up of volatiles ?
I am answering the question. This whole infuriating conversation rests on the idea of pure water on the Moon, and my claim is that even if you had pure water, you would have to inject a lot of energy to make it into propellant. Understand?
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #56 on: 05/25/2016 07:33 PM »
...
Since we cannot easily quantify the actual difficulty of operating on the Moon, we have to at least look at the minimum difficulty.
You cant, without knowing whats there.
Yes, we frakking can. If we assume there's pure water in the best case scenario, we can know what the minimum energy is. Understand?
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 07:35 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline gbaikie

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #57 on: 05/25/2016 08:31 PM »
Quote from: Warren
What is extreme about stable water ice at 30 K?

The point of my post was, that we currently can't tell what exactly is there with high certainty, and we definitely cannot tell how easily accessible or usable any of the materials are. Further data needed.

Yes of course. We've been through that all that before. But for the sake of the argument, let's assume that the polar craters really are 2 meter thick ice rinks. I think we'd both agree that would be about the most "easily accessible" frozen resource we could hope for. Thus, the point of this thread is that even if that were the case (which I agree is unlikely), it would still be easier to drill for volatiles if they can be found at shallow depths.
Right or in the case of Mars, where there there is a good chance of water underground, one could water
as cheap and one can get water on Earth.
Quote
Think about it this way: I have a pond in front of my house. In winter, it is easier for me to simply turn on the faucet connected to the water well than it is for me to go out and cut and melt blocks of ice every time I need some water.
Well everyone uses a lot of water, but on the moon one does not need much water. What one person uses
of water per year on Earth, is more that what is needed for lunar rocket fuel market on the Moon.

Think the purpose of NASA exploration of the moon is to find commercially minable lunar water which can be use to make rocket fuel. And NASA main purpose of exploring mars is to determine if one get cheap water on Mars- and drilling for water on Mars is a way to get cheap water. But such ground water would of the quantities of around a billion tonnes of water available from the drilled well. Drilling for 1/2 million tonnes of water [as total reserve available in particular location, would not be example of very cheap- cheap but not as cheap as could hoped for. Whereas if you could drill on Moon and get 1/2 million tonnes it far more than is needed, and makes water less $50 per lb. And I think if lunar were $500 per lb, it's minable on the Moon- of course $50 per lb is a lot better.
But were lunar water $50 or $500 it's not the only factor in terms of cost of rocket fuel, a significant portion of the cost particular with less expensive water is the cost of the energy needed to make it.
Another significant cost is transportation of water or the rocket fuel to a location you need it. Or if at poles
and wanted water or rocket fuel from the equator of the Moon. Or if had to take water from 1000 miles away
and needed say 100 tons of it in a season, it might be cheaper to get ice from a frozen pond. And one has trucks and roads available. Of course one might not care if water is more expensive if trucked as is not significant cost.

Anyhow having very cheap water is attractive if one is interested in settlements- and farming.
Quote
We know there are these geological features we call meniscus hollows or IMPs or whatever. We don't know for sure what caused them, but we do know for sure that they were formed very recently, on the order of 1-10 million years ago, maybe even sooner. And although there is a faction of researchers who cling to the old idea that these are lava flows, the most likely theory IMO is Schultz's outgassing hypothesis. But to excavate surface deposits via outgassing or a water explosion, that logically entails that such volatiles must have got to the surface somehow.

Thus, if (1) outgassing caused Ina and its ilk; and (2) it happened very recently, then (3) there very well could be near surface locations where significant quantities of volatiles could be obtained today.

Well, empty caves 100 meter down may be a significant value and almost any volatile could have value.
But having lunar water available at $500 per lb, is enough to add more markets in space and such markets
will lower the main cost of leaving Earth, which allows more markets in space to be developed- including commercial exploration.

We look for potential drilling sites by looking for geological signs of outgassing. I just gave you a list of 98 locations. We conduct volatile exploration on the Moon the same way we conduct oil exploration on the Earth--IOW, we don't go around randomly punching holes the way you make it sound.

Ok, but that sounds to me to be quite expensive.
Quote
Trivial. Everything in space is "quite expensive". The google X-prize is offering $30M to land a frackin beach ball on the Moon, and it can't be done for less than the prize. It's all relative, but, just like it is less expensive to produce oil from the Ghawar supergiant oil field than it is to produce it from Alberta tar sands, it would be less expensive to produce water and volatiles on the Moon by drilling for it rather than mining it.
Expensive compare to exploring a small area on the surface of polar regions.

Quote from: gbaike
Suppose one picks what is regarded as best site out of 98. How many holes will you drill and how deep do you drill before deciding that water isn't available at the site one thought was the best one.
Quote
You do it just like they do it in the industry. You go until you either run out of money or you strike it rich....
Exactly. And who going to pay for it. How many will go bankrupt
Or do you want NASA to be like an industry. You are big fan of socialism?

Online Lar

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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #58 on: 05/25/2016 08:36 PM »
People who are "infuriated" maybe should set this thread aside for a while.

Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?
...
Middle school chemistry. Water won't magically turn into hydrogen and oxygen, it requires electrolysis, an input of energy. Minimum of 16MJ/kg, more like 30MJ/kg to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Not answering the question. What do you base your assertions of composition of volatiles in lunar polar regions on ? Specifically, mineralogical, elemental, molecular and isotopic make up of volatiles ?
I am answering the question. This whole infuriating conversation rests on the idea of pure water on the Moon, and my claim is that even if you had pure water, you would have to inject a lot of energy to make it into propellant. Understand?

I read savupuro as asking (you) about (sources for) the projected volatiles composition. Not as talking about electrolysis energy.
« Last Edit: 05/25/2016 08:38 PM by Lar »
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Re: Impact of lunar free water on Exploration Architecture
« Reply #59 on: 05/25/2016 08:44 PM »
People who are "infuriated" maybe should set this thread aside for a while.

Lunar resources like what Warren Platts (the most optimistic person in this regard) supposes all require electrolysis to turn into oxidizer and fuel. The free hydrogen, if it exists, is in fairly trace amounts and still lacks an oxidizer.
What data do you base your assertions on ?
...
Middle school chemistry. Water won't magically turn into hydrogen and oxygen, it requires electrolysis, an input of energy. Minimum of 16MJ/kg, more like 30MJ/kg to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Not answering the question. What do you base your assertions of composition of volatiles in lunar polar regions on ? Specifically, mineralogical, elemental, molecular and isotopic make up of volatiles ?
I am answering the question. This whole infuriating conversation rests on the idea of pure water on the Moon, and my claim is that even if you had pure water, you would have to inject a lot of energy to make it into propellant. Understand?

I read savupuro as asking (you) about (sources for) the projected volatiles composition. Not as talking about electrolysis energy.
I was just taking Warren's claim as it stands. I'm NOT making any claims about volatiles composition! The question is irrelevant to my point. This is why I'm infuriated. I make a claim, the guy doesn't understand it, then demands I answer an irrelevant question.
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